Tostones, shrimp, and avocado weave their way through many Latin cuisines... My Tostones with Shrimp features shrimp, mashed avocado, and a passionfruit slaw atop traditional tostones. This unique appetizer or light dinner brings a delightful tropical twist to the typical twice-fried tostones.
👩🏻🍳 Tamara Talks - About Tostones
Disclaimer: Tostones are not "low calorie" or "low fat." They're twice-fried. DUH. So, how does a "healthyish" food blogger justify cooking and enjoying twice-fried deliciousness? My response will always be that all foods can be enjoyed occasionally. I certainly wouldn't recommend eating tostones on a regular basis!
Tostones, from the Spanish word tostar, means "to toast." I wish the process involved toasting rather than frying. 😂 They're the end result of plantains (aka plátanos) fried, smushed, and fried again until they are golden brown and crispy.
You'll find tostones in many Latin cuisines, as well as the Caribbean, but they're thought to have originated in Puerto Rico. While they're delicious alone as a snack (exercise discipline!), they're awesome as a gluten free base for healthy and healthyish toppings.
I look for mostly green plantains. They become sweeter and a bit mushy as they ripen, and while that works well for some dishes, you want a more savory and starchy taste (think potatoes or sweet potatoes).
Topping the Tostones
Tostones function in much the same way as crostini or chips... think nachos and bruschetta? They're a great base for a plethora of tempting, tasty toppings.
My typical approach when playing with tostones is to create a spread of some sort as a second layer, and then a more substantial bit of food and a garnish to top it off. For example: In the past, I have topped tostones with a citrus-infused black bean spread, avocado slice, and a sprinkle of chopped cilantro and scallion.
📋 Ingredients You'll Need
Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.
- shrimp - I usually buy the largest shrimp, but at least 16-20 per pound.
- red chile powder - Chipotle, ancho, and New Mexico red chile powder please. Avoid generic "chili powder." It's actually a spice blend that contains other ingredients. This is optional. The shrimp will be fine with just lime juice, or even without marinating!
- plantains - Green plantains are super important for tostones. As they go from green to yellow dark brown, they ripen, and get progressively sweeter. While ripe, brown plantains can be tasty when fried, they’re better used for sweet applications, not savory tostones. I go for green plantains as shown in the photo below.
- cabbage - Shredded cabbage in a bag is a great time saver, but you can certainly slice your own cabbage! You can use napa or regular cabbage.
- passionfruit pulp - I use frozen passion fruit purée that is available in many markets and certainly in Latin foods stores.
- fresh lime
- vinegar - I like a mild vinegar like sherry or champagne vinegar. White wine vinegar is fine as well.
- olive oil
- sweetener - I use either honey or agave nectar.
- oil - You need to use an oil with a high smoke point such as canola, vegetable, or refined coconut oil (my choice).
- This appetizer includes 4 separate components - tostones, seasoned mashed avocado, passion fruit slaw, and marinated and grilled shrimp. And, in addition to the toppings, you'll want to include one or more fresh garnishes (lime wedges, chopped cilantro or mint, scallions).
- Prepare the passionfruit slaw - Shred the cabbage. Add all dressing ingredients to a blender or food processor. Process until smooth. Toss with the cabbage.
- Marinate the shrimp - Add marinade ingredients to a zip bag, then add the peeled and deveined shrimp. 15 to 20 minutes in the marinade is plenty; 30 minutes or more may result in rubbery shrimp.
- Grill the shrimp - Grill over medium-high heat. 1 to 2 minutes per side is all that is needed. Overcooked shrimp are rubbery! NOTE: It is not important that the shrimp be hot, so go ahead and do them before the tostones. Tostones are best when fresh!
- Prepare the avocado - Mash (and season) a ripe avocado!
- Make the tostones - See photos below!
- The tostones start with an unripe plantain, peeled, and cut into ¾" thick slices.
- The slices are shallow-fried until they're just beginning to brown.
- The golden fried plantains are removed from the skillet, and each one needs to be pressed. Parchment (rather than towels) will help prevent sticking.
- Each fried plantain should be pressed to about ½ of its original thickness. I use a glass with a good-sized base. A flat spatula works as well.
- It was over 100 degrees on photo day, so I opted to use my cast iron griddle rather than go out in the heat. I get the pan really hot, and the shrimp only need about a minute on each side!
- The 3 components - shrimp, mashed avocado, and passion fruit slaw - ready to top the prepared tostones...
- Finish the tostones with shrimp - We serve this healthyish dish room temperature, so no need to rush to keep the tostones hot. If you prefer them hot, keep them in a warm oven until you're ready to assemble. They're still likely to be room temperature by the time you put that delicious bite in your mouth!
Are tostones good leftover?
No. Like most fried foods, they need to be eaten while fresh!
Is there a substitute for passionfruit pulp?
Goya makes the passionfruit pulp, and I keep it in my freezer. They also make mango and other tropical fruits. You could also break down a mango, and purée it. Add to the slaw as you would the passionfruit pulp.
I set up an assembly line: Tostones, avocado mash, passion fruit slaw, shrimp, and garnishes. I can knock these out for Dr A and me in a flash. If you're making them for a larger group or a party, you might want a buddy...
Peeling plantains isn’t as easy as peeling bananas. Cut off both ends of the plantain first, then gently slice down the entire length of the plantain with the tip of your knife, being sure not to slice too deeply. Do this a few times along the ridges, then peel off the skin. Plantains will begin oxidize when expose to air, so try to work quickly.
A pastry cutter makes mashing an avocado super quick!
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We LOVE this dish with a fruity IPA or wheat beer. We recently discovered Real Ale Skullberry IPA, and Oskar Blues Rosé For Daze ale. Both paired really well!
If wine is more your style, try an Italian Pinot Grigio or a dry rosé (I like French and Spanish rosés). On photo day, we enjoyed a tall, icy glass of Peruvian Chicha Morada - a non-alcoholic spiced drink made with dried purple corn. Yum!
Don't let the long list of ingredients fool you... this dish actually comes together quickly! If you are making tostones for a larger group, an assembly line with a partner is twice the fun and gets it done more quickly too.
Shrimp Tostones Appetizer Recipe
Simple Passion Fruit Slaw
- 1 ½ cups shredded napa or regular cabbage (see notes)
- ¼ cup frozen passionfruit purée - thawed
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 tablespoon vinegar - champagne, white wine, or sherry vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil mayonnase
- 1 teaspoon agave nectar - or honey
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 12 ounces shrimp - peeled and deveined
- juice of 2 limes
- 3 cloves garlic - minced
- ½ teaspoon red chile powder - optional, see notes
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 avocado - seed and skin removed
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 large green plantain
- vegetable oil
- sea salt
The Passion Fruit Slaw
- Add the dressing ingredients to a blender or processor. Purée until smooth.
- Toss with the shredded cabbage and check for seasoning.
- Combine marinade ingredients and shrimp in a zip bag. Marinade 15-30 minutes.
- Grill until pink and opaque (about 1-2 minutes per side).
The Avocado Mash
- Mash the avocado, and taste for seasoning.
- Slice peeled plantain(s) into ¾" +/- slices.
- Fry in hot vegetable oil until they just begin to show color on both sides.
- Remove to a plate covered with parchment or waxed paper.
- Gently press with a large, flat spatula until ½ thickness.
- Add back into the hot oil for the second fry. Fry on both sides until nicely browned and crispy.
- Drain on layers of toweling and season with sea salt and pepper.
- Spread each tostone with mashed avocado, some slaw, and top with a grilled shrimp. Enjoy!
NOTE: Macronutrients are an approximation only using unbranded ingredients and MyFitnessPal.com. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.